Many members of the Hispanic community have shared a truckload of impassioned disappointment in what should’ve been a momentous occasion for the young and old alike. The controversial whirlwind began when Sofia the First executive producer Jamie Mitchell acknowledged Disney’s latest Princess Sofia as the first-ever Hispanic Disney princess.
When pictures of the animated cutie surfaced, she was not equipped with any general characteristics of her said people. With her blue eyes, extremely fair skin and auburn hair, Latinas are claiming she might as well be European, which was all the more supported by Disney’s defense that Sofia was a “mixed heritage” Latina.
Backpedaling a bit to avoid any further uproar, on October 19, Nancy Kanter, senior vice president of original programming and general manager of Disney Junior Worldwide took to Sofia the First’s Facebook page to deny all claims that the new Disney princess represented any one culture or ethnicity.
“Some of you may have seen the recent news stories on whether Sofia is or isn’t a ‘Latina princess,’”Kanter says. “What’s important to know is that Sofia is a fairytale girl who lives in a fairytale world. All our characters come from fantasy lands that may reflect elements of various cultures and ethnicities but none are meant to specifically represent those real world cultures.”
She adds: “Sofia’s world reflects the ethnically diverse world we live in but it is not OUR world, it is a fairytale and storybook world that we hope will help spur a child’s imagination.”
While a majority of Latinas are up in arms about how their beloved Sofia is being represented, Sofia’s story is still set to air on the Disney Channel on November 18. Her tale takes place in seems to not be a Spanish-speaking country or neighborhood with ties to Spain. Depending on the ratings, Disney may or may not have to go back to the drawing board in getting the hint on whether Sofia is truly representative of such a vast arena of racial identity and accompanying and varied skin tones and experiences.–Carmen Shardae Jobson and Niki McGloster